Searches and Hires

Illinois Teachers allocates $1.66 billion, hires private credit consultant

Illinois Teachers' Retirement System hired its first private credit consultant and received a report about investments and commitments totaling $1.66 billion during a board meeting Aug. 17 at the $51.3 billion pension fund's Springfield headquarters.

Aksia was hired to assist the fund's staff in the selection and administration of private debt investments from the fund's $11.9 billion income portfolio. Aksia was awarded a five-year contract; the starting date of the contract is pending successful contract negotiations, TRS spokesman David Urbanek said in an email.

From the fund's $26.5 billion equity portfolio, investment staff allocated $634 million between board meetings to three managers, led by AQR Capital Management, which received $470 million allocation for an active U.S. large-cap equity strategy. AQR managed $2.3 billion for the pension fund in other strategies as of June 30.

Allocations also were made to two new private equity managers from the fund's equity portfolio.

SK Capital Partners V received a $75 million commitment for buyout deals in lower-midmarket specialty materials, chemicals and health-care companies.

The pension fund made two commitments to Inflexion Private Equity Partners, with 38.5 million ($49 million) earmarked for Inflexion Buyout Fund V, which seeks control-oriented investments in lower-middle-market companies in the U.K., and 31.5 million to Inflexion Partnership Capital II, which emphasizes non-control, minority investments in lower-middle-market companies in the U.K.

In real assets, TRS committed a total of $600 million to three existing managers from the pension fund's $7 billion real assets portfolio.

Blackstone Infrastructure Partners, managed by Blackstone Group, received a $300 million commitment. Blackstone managed $529 million in previous investments for TRS as of June 30.

The pension fund also committed $200 million to Fortress Japan Opportunity Fund IV, a real estate fund managed by Fortress Investment Group, and $100 million to Principal Industrial Value Add, managed by Principal Real Estate Investors. Fortress managed $81.5 million in other funds for TRS as of June 30 and Principal Real Estate, $185 million.

A total of $350 million was invested in two hedge funds from the defined benefit plan's $5.9 billion diversified strategies portfolio.

TRS invested $200 million in the flagship global macro hedge fund strategy of Light Sky Macro, a new manager for the plan.

Existing manager Varadero Capital was awarded with $150 million for investment in its special opportunities credit strategy. Varadero managed a total of $269 million in other strategies for TRS as of June 30.

For the pension fund's $11.9 billion income portfolio, officials committed $75 million to Edelweiss India Stressed Asset Fund II, which will seek distressed private credit opportunities in India and is managed by Edelweiss Asset Management.

Separately, J.P. Morgan Asset Management (JPM) was terminated for management of a $710 million active international equity mandate, confirmed Mr. Urbanek. He did not provide a reason for the termination.

J.P. Morgan still ran $954 million in other investment approaches for the pension fund as of June 30.

Kristen Chambers, a spokeswoman for J.P. Morgan Asset Management, declined to comment on the termination.

Also in May, TRS investment officials began redeeming assets from the then $796 million Standard Life Global Absolute Return Strategies Fund, a multistrategy hedge fund managed by Aberdeen Standard Investments, from within the diversifying strategies portfolio. The investment mandate was officially terminated between board meetings and the final redemption from the strategy was $400 million, Mr. Urbanek said. He did not provide the reason for the termination of the Aberdeen Standard Life investment.

James Thorneley, an Aberdeen Standard Life spokesman, declined to comment about the firm's termination.